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Open Source vs Closed Source Software

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Introduction

Since the beginning of software development, there has been a debate on whether open source or closed source software is better.  To resolve this tussle, we will look at examples of programs we use every day, and their pros and cons.  According to Bwired(n.d), the main differences between these two Softwares are (a) cost; (b) service and support; (c) innovation (d) usability; (e) security.

Major Differences

Cost

Open source software is free while closed source software, also known as proprietary software is bought.  However, in open source software, long term costs like; cost of implementation, innovation, and opportunity costs incurred to resolve the service/support issues may bring the cost to a level almost equal to the proprietary software.

Service and Support

Service/support is an important factor.  Open source software depends on the online community network which may be slow in solving the issues of the software.  However, in closed source software, timely service and support is issued by the software providers.

Innovation

 Open source software allows users to tweak the software to their own convenience, but proprietary (closed source) software providers limit the users to their end product.  Closed source software has no flexibility.  In open souce software, the ability to change some aspects of the software may lead to irresolvable issues and inability to update the software.

Usability

Open source software is developer-centered, and it is not reviewed by usability experts.  It is, therefore, difficult to understand by other users.  On the other hand, closed source software is easy to use

Security

Closed source software is always viewed as being more secure than open source software.  However, some programs like Linux have proven to be more secure than their closed source counterparts

Examples of Open Source and Closed Source Software

Microsoft windows- Closed source

Linux- Open Source

Uses.  These are operating systems that control the functions of different parts of a computer by scheduling different tasks.  They act as a medium between the computer and the user.

Pros and Cons of these operating systems.

  • Linux is free while Microsoft windows has to be bought.
  •  Linux is based on UNIX system. UNIX was developed for networking and Linux is therefore more suited for networking than Microsoft windows. Microsoft doesn’t offer such advanced networking.
  •  Moreover, Linux is secure compared to Microsoft windows.  Viruses that would attack the Microsoft system aree deemed harmless in the Linux system.  This is in contrast to the common knowledge that open source Softwares are not secure.
  • In some cases, Linux appears difficult to handle because some of its applications are unusable.  Microsoft applications are easier to operate. Microsoft windows has better usability

Microsoft internet explorer- Closed source

Mozilla Firefox- Open source

Uses.  These are internet browser Softwares.  They access encoded documents in the internet and present them in a readable form to the user.

Pros and Cons of these internet browsers

  • Older versions of Mozilla Firefox are susceptible to hacker access.  This can, however, be reduced by updating this software.
  • Even in places of fast internet connection, Mozilla Firefox’s initial loading time is slower compared to that of Microsoft internet explorer.
  • Mozilla Firefox has compatibility issues with some websites.  In this case, the user may opt to switch to another web browser.
  • Despite these cons, Mozilla has better usability than Microsoft internet explorer.  Some factors like the ability to store your login information for easier access to password protected websites is evident in Firefox but absent in Microsoft internet explorer.  Multiple bookmarks can also be opened in different tabs at once in Mozilla Firefox.

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